Engel meets with Democrats, talks reproductive rights, water, border

Kirsten Engel, candidate for Congress in Arizona's 6th District, left, takes questions from voters during a meet-and-greet at Graham County Democratic Party headquarters on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Democrat Kirsten Engel isn’t pulling punches in her second attempt to win the Congressional seat representing Graham and Greenlee counties.

Engel was in Safford last Saturday, talking to party faithful at the Graham County Democratic Party headquarters.

She said that while many of the issues from 2022 are still a factor in the 2024 race, there are a few differences.

“One of the big differences is that I now have an opponent — Juan Ciscomani — who has a voting record,” she said, “and making sure that people understand that voting record, and understand that he has been siding with the far right on so many critical issues.”

Engel and Republican Ciscomani faced each other in 2022 for the open Congressional seat, with Ciscomani winning by 5,232 votes.

Engel said voter turnout this election will be key, especially considering the low voter turnout in 2022, especially among Hispanic and independent voters.

“A lot of the issues I ran on then and I’m running on now really resonate with independents,” she said. “Issues of reproductive rights; this being a fundamental liberty that we want to keep politicians out of and make sure that people make their own health-care decisions; (and) issues of water here. I think these are critical issues for people regardless of what party they belong to.”

She also said that increasing use of renewable energy will benefit the nation and Arizona, as well as approaching border issues logically.

“We need to secure the border, but how are we doing it in a smart way when it comes to drug trafficking and human trafficking?” Engel said. “We know that most of the drugs come in through the ports of entry, so that is what we should be focused on — reinforcing that.”

She closed with calling on everyone to register and to vote.

“Democracy is on the ballot. I know we say that every time, but this time, it really, really is true,” Engel said.